DYPAC’s ‘CATS’ opening August 9 in Trenton

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Photo courtesy of the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center
Cast members of the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “CATS” put their best face forward as they learn to project their inner feline. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9, 10, 16 and 17, and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 11. For more information call 734-771-7945 or go to www.dypac.com.

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By SUE SUCHYTA
The Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “CATS” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9, 10, 16 and 17, and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Trenton Village Theatre, 2447 W. Jefferson in Trenton.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students, with $15 preferred seating in the front four rows, which includes a tour of the theater. For more information call 734-771-7945 or go to www.dypac.com.

“CATS,” the second longest running show in Broadway history, drew inspiration from T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The cats tell their stories and decide who will ascend to the Heaviside layer to be reborn into a different Jellicle form through an amazing collection of song and dance numbers.

Mary Zaleski directed the show, with choreography by Molly Zaleski, music and vocals by Sarah Leonard and Jackie Nadolsky as producer.

“These teens have been working every day this summer on ‘CATS’ the musical,” DYPAC administrator Debbie Jackson said. “It is the first time ‘CATS’ has been produced Downriver.”

Jackson added that many community volunteers have helped costume chair Mishell Schutt create amazing costumes for the show, knitting cat leggings, mittens and creating headpieces.

She said parents of cast members are also creating original props and set pieces.

The cast includes Dearborn Heights residents Jaime Cochran, 13, as Quoxo and Sydney Hull as Grizabella; Brownstown Township residents Melanie Konja, 17, as Georgia and Dara Pardon, 19, as Jellyorum; Detroit resident Mario Garza, 16, as Pouncival; and Flat Rock residents Ally Balan, 14, as Admetus and Stephanie Liakos, 17, as Valencia.

Also in the cast are Gibraltar residents Taylor Yaeger, 19, as Mungojerrie and Zack Yaeger, 17, as Skimbleshanks; Grosse Ile Township residents Xander Fleming, 15, as Mr. Mistoffelees, Chad Schultze, 16, as Bustopher Jones and Bailey Schaver, 15, as Macavity and Plato; and Monroe residents Carly Krulikowski, 13, as Bombalurina and Ava Rendina, 15, as Rumpleteazer.

Other performers include Riverview residents Mackenzie Hand, 14, as Pearl Bailey, Elizabeth Rutkowski, 14, as Asparagus and Rumpus Cat and Mary Thornton, 18, as Sillabub; Southgate residents Peyton Bias, 17, as Jemima, Emily Carlin, 18, as Griddlebone, JuJu Palmer, 13, as Jennyanydots and Josie Palmer, 16, as Coricopat; and Rockwood residents Christa Callahan, 14, as Carbuckety and Cameron Smith, 17, as Rum Tum Tugger.

Ally Wright, 16, of Taylor plays Electra, with Trenton residents Gavin Alvedy, 15, as Munkustrap, Michael Cunningham, 19, as Gus, Avery Pautuk, 16, as Old Deuteronomy, Jenna Perugi as Etcetera and Olivia Schutt, 17, as Demeter; and Wyandotte residents Isabela Balavitch, 17, as Cassandra, Madeline Balavitch, 15, as Tantomile, Jessica Golema, 17, as Victoria, Ethan Konicule, 16, as Alonzo and Tiffany Njuyen, 15, as Exotica.

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Photo courtesy of the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center
Cast members Ava Rendina (left), 15, of Monroe as Rumpleteazer, Taylor Yaeger, 19, of Gibraltar as Mungojerrie and Olivia Schutt, 17, of Trenton as Demeter put their best face forward as they learn to project their inner feline for the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “CATS.” The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9, 10, 16 and 17, and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 11. For more information call 734-771-7945 or go to www.dypac.com.

PLAYERS GUILD HOSTS PRE-AUDITION WORKSHOP FOR MUSICAL
The Players Guild of Dearborn will host a free pre-audition workshop for its November musical, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Dearborn High School, 19501 W. Outer Drive.

The musical comedy, set in Dickensian London, will be directed by Michael Falzon, choreographed by Janeen Bodary and assistant directed by Kori Bielaniec and Corinne Fine. Julie Malloy is the musical director.

The workshop will cover the story, cast of characters, audition music cuts, choreography and dialect tips. Attendees should wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and women are encouraged to bring character shoes if they have them.

Auditions will take place in the Dearborn High School auditorium on Aug. 26 and 27 in the evening.

Production dates for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” are Nov. 8 to 10, 15 to 17, 22 to 24, and Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays at the Guild theater, 21730 Madison.

Send audition questions via email to director Michael Falzon at PGDDroodDirector@gmail.com, with “Drood Workshop” on the email subject line.

For more information, go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

SOUTHGATE COMMUNITY PLAYERS PRESENT ‘THE LARAMIE PROJECT’
Southgate Community Players will present “The Laramie Project” at 8 p.m. Aug. 16, 17, 23 and 24 at the Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix Toledo Road in Southgate.

Tickets are $13 for all attendees. For more information, or to order tickets online, go to www.scponstage.com.

Allen Park residents Joshua Beurer and Mike Fritz serve as the director, and the music composer and arranger, respectively, with Southgate resident Chris Rollet producing the show.

“The Laramie Project,” written by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, focuses on the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in 1998 in Laramie, Wyo.

Project members conducted over 200 interviews in the aftermath of the beating death and the subsequent trial with people directly connected to the case and with town residents.

The diversity of reactions to the crime by the town’s residents and members of the theater company create a show that explores both the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion to which people are capable.

The production features a small cast, with each actor playing multiple roles.

Allen Park cast members are Ashley Blevins as Rebecca Hilliker and Romaine Patterson, and Holly Knick as Zubaida Ula and Catherine Connelly. Don Westerdale of Lincoln Park portrays Doc O’Connor and Fred Phelps, and Nick Mullins of Trenton plays Sergeant Hing and Jonas Slonaker.

Wyandotte cast members are Emily Flesch as Eileen Engen and Zackie Salmon, Patrick Reed as Aaron Kreifels and Father Roger Schmit, and Tommy Wojtala as Jedadiah Schultz and Aaron McKinney.

Jim Wolbrink of Detroit plays Marge Murray and Dennis Shepard.

SOUTHGATE COMMUNITY PLAYERS ANNOUNCE ‘LES MISERABLES’ CAST
Southgate Community Players announced its cast for “Les Miserables’” last week, with 56 local thespians cast in a show just released for amateur performance within the last year.

SCP will run the show for two weekends, at 8 p.m. Nov. 8, 9, 15 and 16 in the Davidson Middle School Auditorium at 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.

For more information, go to www.scponstage.com.

Directed by Southgate residents Christopher Rollet and Phillip Rauch, the show is music directed by Sarah Leonard of Lincoln Park.

Set in early 19th century France, and based on the novel by Victor Hugo, “Les Miz” is a sung-through musical with music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer.

When Jean Valjean, a French peasant, steals a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child, he is caught and serves 19 years in jail. Upon his release, he finds the terms of his parole prevent him from ever re-entering society. With the help of a compassionate bishop, Valjean breaks his parole and assumes a new identity, making a new life for himself.

However, Valjean is still not free, since he broke the terms of his parole, earning a relentless pursuit by Javert, a police inspector. During the pursuit, Valjean meets up with a group of idealistic students during a rebellion for liberty.

The leads and supporting cast members are Rob Douglas of Brownstown Township as Javert, Aleksander Papanastasopoules of Canton Township as Enjolras, Rachel Huckling, 11, of Lincoln Park as Young Eponine, Brendun Deer of Melvindale as Marius and Jeff Powers of New Boston as Thenardier.

Riverview cast members are Lori Hawkins as Fantine and Judith Ann Mulheisen as Madame Thenardier. Southgate residents in featured roles are Megan Robertson as Cosette and Sydney Robinson, 10, as Young Cosette.

Taylor cast members include Larry Hubbard as Jean Valjean and Gabe Hubbard, 12, as Gavroche. Tamara Walter of Wyandotte will play Eponine.

Ensemble members include Allen Park residents Ashley Blevins, Alan Demorow, Audrey Demorow, 8, Kellie Runkle and Matt Van Houton, and Brownstown Township residents Melanie Berger, Ren Clark, Lucie Douglas, 8, Maddie Douglas, 11, Erin Krista Schmidt, Taylor Yaeger and Zachery Yaeger.

Also in the ensemble are Nathaniel Hermen, 10, and Rebecca Hermen of Dearborn, Richard Wieckowski of Flat Rock and Debbe Lavely of Grosse Ile.

Lincoln Park residents in the ensemble are Liza Boos, Ryan Boos, 11, Emily Hunt, Adriana James, Julia Klug, 9, Kelly Klug, Catherine Long and Merritt Solomon.

Melvindale ensemble members are Domingo Guzman, Lauren Kollmorgen and David Nylz III.

Also in the ensemble are Mark McMahan and Jessica Pusino of Riverview, Sara Marie Dally, Rian McDonald, Isabel Perez, 9, and Anne’ Renforth of Southgate and Jenna Gadille of South Rockwood.

Patty Hubbard and Michael Parks of Taylor are in the ensemble, as are Trenton residents Cheryl Eagal, John Meiers, Nick Mullins and Melissa Preston. Woodhaven residents Christopher Gawel, Bradley Hardecki, Stephen Phillips and Sydney Villanueva are also in the ensemble.

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